May 22, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

PORTLAND

South Portland psychologist pleads guilty in fraud case

A licensed psychologist from South Portland pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to committing health care fraud.

Carole Orem-Hough, 55, who provided counseling from her business, Casco Bay Psychotherapy, from September 2008 to September 2011, admitted to double-billing patients' insurance companies for counseling sessions that never happened, according to court records.

Orem-Hough defrauded Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim and OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions for more than $69,000 in false claims for nearly 50 patients, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In some cases, she submitted claims indicating that she had provided counseling to patients for two days per week when the patients' files indicated only one day, according to court records.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 27.

She faces as much as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI after a patient noticed and reported billing discrepancies in a statement explaining medical benefits from the patient's health insurance company.

NAPLES

Lake Region voters address $27.9 million school budget

Residents of the four towns in the Lake Region School District voted Tuesday on the $27.9 million school budget.

The proposed budget for 2013-14 is up almost 7 percent over the current budget, although the amount that taxpayers would be responsible for is up 5.7 percent, said Business Manager Sherrie Small.

Small could not provide details about the proposed budget's effect on the tax rates in Bridgton, Casco, Naples or Sebago.

Driving up the budget is the potential shift in retirement costs from the state to the school district, as proposed by Gov. Paul LePage.

The cost to Lake Region would be $357,000, Small said.

Also, the district budgeted $500,000 for bond interest payments, but will be reimbursed for that cost by the federal government, Small said.

ARUNDEL

Man arrested on 2 warrants following unrelated standoff

A 90-minute standoff ended Monday when a man who had refused to leave a trailer surrendered to York County sheriff's deputies.

The sheriff's office said the incident began early Monday afternoon when a man and a friend went to the Pines Trailer Park on Old Alfred Road to pick up the man's daughter.

The man, who wasn't identified, shares custody of the 7-year-old with his former girlfriend, who lives in the trailer park.

The former girlfriend refused to allow the man to take his daughter, the sheriff's office said, and an argument began.

The woman's current boyfriend and another man who lives in the trailer ordered the father to leave and the father's friend saw a gun tucked in the waistband of one of the men who lives in the trailer.

The father and his friend left and called the sheriff's office.

Deputies said four adults live in the trailer, along with a 2-year-old and the 7-year-old.

After about a half-hour, the mother of the 7-year-old and the woman's boyfriend left the trailer, but the other couple and the two children remained inside and the adults refused to leave, deputies said.

About an hour later, the man who allegedly had the gun came out.

Deputies arrested Ryan Forrest, 26, of Arundel on two outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines on two separate burglary and theft charges.

The woman and the two children, unharmed, came out of the trailer a few minutes later.

Deputies said they found a BB pistol in the trailer.

Forrest posted bail and was released from York County Jail on Monday night.

AUBURN

Suspect in stabbing freed after victim takes the Fifth

A Lewiston man who faced as much as 30 years in prison for allegedly stabbing his friend in the chest with a barbecue fork was freed after the victim refused to testify against him.

Surprising everyone in the courtroom on Monday, Vincent Turner invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Authorities say Turner, 42, was stabbed in the chest by Tony Leonard, 43, during a drunken brawl in October.

Prosecutors say the two-pronged fork penetrated so deeply into Turner's chest that it scraped his aorta and landed him in the hospital in critical condition.

The Sun Journal reported that after testifying Monday that he and Leonard were friends, Turner said no more.

Leonard pleaded no contest to assault and was sentenced to time served.

BANGOR

Three Aroostook residents charged with making meth

Three northern Maine residents have been indicted on charges of making the highly addictive drug methamphetamine.

Jammie Dickinson and Kyle Stewart of Houlton and Crystal Dehahn of Hodgdon are charged with drug trafficking and endangering the welfare of a child.

WABI-TV reported that Dehahn is the widow of Jason Dehahn, one of the victims in a 2010 triple murder in the small town of Amity.

Drug agents say they found Stewart and Dickinson with a child in a Houlton apartment where they allegedly made methamphetamine.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH

RSU 23 residents approve school budet to go to vote

Residents of Saco, Dayton and Old Orchard Beach will be asked to vote June 11 on a $45.1 million school budget.

About 80 residents approved the budget amount by a show of hands, according to Gary Curtis, chairman of the Regional School Unit 23 board.

The regional budget meeting was held at Old Orchard Beach High School.

Curtis said residents added an $18,600 spending request to the budget to purchase or lease an additional school bus.

Curtis said the 2013-14 budget, which was challenged by a number of revenue shortfalls, has been one of the "most difficult" to prepare in recent years.

 

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